The energy sector is vital for every industry and every individual consumer – we all need energy to perform daily tasks, light and warm our homes and offices and to power computers, machines and factories. As the demand for energy increases, new and renewable forms of energy production are coming to the forefront.
Many nations are still dependent on oil and gas as a primary source of energy, but this is changing as political conflict and climate change make it necessary to think of ways to maintain supply reliability and produce energy in a more sustainable way.
Digitalization and new technologies enable an energy revolution driven by wind, water and solar energy. Renewable energy helps reduce emissions to combat climate change and support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal #7: affordable and clean energy. Eurostat reports that in 2021, almost a quarter of European energy consumption came from renewable resources and data from WindEurope confirms that wind energy has the largest share in this, with about 16%.
- Sustainability at TTTech Group
- EuroStat - renewable energy statistics
- UN: Sustainable Development Goals
How new technologies drive the energy revolution
Energy production is a challenging field, requiring large investments and continuous maintenance and monitoring to ensure reliable supply. Digitalization has played its part, as in many other industries, in optimizing processes and developing new business models. Today it is possible to check who uses how much energy and where, as well as identify peak times for energy consumption. This information is crucial for planning supply and distributing energy to the public and the industry.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enables connectivity of machines and devices in factories, cities or even in remote locations and makes remote and predictive maintenance possible. Today, energy producers can use a wealth of data to get a complete overview of their assets and production capabilities.
Renewable energy, in particular, brings with it a new set of challenges. The amount of energy generated with wind, water and solar power varies significantly, be it due to weather conditions or even just the change of seasons. New technologies for energy storage and distribution are vital for ensuring that renewable energy can be supplied to the grid at all times in the quantities needed or used as a back-up source during peak energy consumption.
Maintenance is also a big challenge for renewable energy producers. Many of the world’s wind energy parks are located offshore and water and solar power plants are often built in remote areas as well. By enabling access to data from sensors and devices within wind turbines and power plants, systems can be monitored, and technicians can either perform maintenance through remote access or be alerted to a potential issue early on, so repairs and service requirements can be planned in advance. This not only increases efficiently and reduces travel times, but it also increases system uptime and thus supply reliability. Secure remote connectivity and role-based access to systems are another key requirement for energy plants as part of the critical infrastructure.
Edge computing platforms like TTTech Industrial’s Nerve can be used to collect, process and make available data from assets and devices for such applications and enable secure remote access.Secure connectivity for reliable energy supply